WEEK 48 2009
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Thur- Fri- Sat- Next Week
Picture of the Week
17 March 2002
Ago, This Week, 2002
Ago, This Week, 2003
Years Ago, this
Ago, This Week, 2005
This Week, 2006
This Week, 2007
This Week, 2008
Saturday 28 November 2009
Saturday - Book #79 was The Hundred Days by Patrick O'Brian. No surprise there, I guess.
Books this year:
#5 True North: Peary,
Cook, and the Race to the Pole
Acres and a Poodle*
#7 The Lord Protector's Daughter
#8 Simple Courage*
The Windwracked Stars.
|#11 Ayesha, The Return of She*
#13 Crusade: Destroyermen, Book II
#14 Shakespeare: The World as a Stage
#15 The Precipice*,
#18 Maelstrom: Destroyermen Book III:
#20 Allan Quatermain
|#21 She and Allan
#23 Treasons' Harbor*
#24 Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats
#27 Wisdoms' Daughter,
Far Side of the World*
#30 Captains Courageous
|#31 Irish Lace
#32 The Reverse of the Medal*
#33 The Moonstone
#34 H.M.S. Beagle: The Story of Darwin's Ship*
#35 Alone Around the World,
The Long Voyage
Letter of Marque*
#39 The Biofab War
#40 The Battle for Terra Two
|#41, The AI War (Biofab #3)
#42, Final Assault, (Biofab #4)
#44: Orbit Unlimited
#45: The Enemy Stars
|#46 There Will be Time
#47 Another Fine Myth
#48 Myth Conceptions.
#49 Prime Obsession
#50 The Thirteen Gun Salute*
Fighting Chance: How We Rowed the Atlantic in 92 Days
#54 Myth Directions
#55 Mything Persons
|#56 The Nutmeg of Consolation*
#57 Hit or Myth
#58 Little Myth Marker
Inc., In Action
|#61 The Wine Dark Sea*
#62 The Time Traders
Life in Nelson's Navy
#68 Galactic Derelict
#69 The Skylark of Space
#70 Skylark Three
|#71 Skylark of Valeron
#74 The Little World of Don Camillo
#75 Subspace Encounters
|#76, The Yellow Admiral*
Risen Empire: Book One of Succession
#79 The Hundred Days
- working on the video/still thing. I was trying to use batch scripts
and some free software, and if either Microsoft or the free software
people were halfway competent it would have been a bridge. As it was,
it was a pain, and took hours.
Vbscript, it turns out, has the same problem that old batch files had twenty five years ago.
When you shell out to an external process the parent
shell does not pause, and continues spitting out shell
process until there are so many interfering with each other that the
machine hangs.There are various workarounds - timer pauses and scripts
that supposedly look for the end of the first child process before
starting another - but none worked properly.
The free program, that I was shelling out to, was called Thumber and
generated thumbnails of videos. But it wouldn't work at all until I
found some extra files not included in the distro, then it would only work on one video at a time
- I've about 2,500 to process. In theory it would work under Linux as
well, but when I tried to install the package some basic core libraries were missing.
They've been missing since at least May of this year,
since I see complaints starting about then about that. Apparently the
Free and worth every cent, as they say.
Anyway, a mixture of Vbscript, old *.bat file, and Thumber seems to be
generating things OK. The idea is to extract a still to represent the
feature or defect, so I generate a number of stills for each video,
automatically. Then I'll pick the one I want to keep...
Chip and a house plant.
Thursday 26 November
- Thanksgiving Day. My friends kindly invited me over for a nice
thanksgiving feast. I was a bit blue & sad, so it was
nice to have some place to go.
- I put in a days work and then headed up to Lancaster for the weekend.
This is the first long weekend since the 4th of July, so I'm looking
forward to it.
I am also, alas, taking work home. I need to fill out the still/video
lists for the early inspection days - they are sparse or even
non-existent in places. Also answer any database questions that may
We also have a student doing some database work, so I spent most of the
day with him, showing him the drudge work that needs doing. After
fiddling about with Manifold for a while I found the SQL interface and
he was competent in that.
An oddity: when I asked him what his favorite editor was (vi or Emacs)
he looked blank, then said that he used development environments,
Eclipse, among others. A guy with a masters who doesn't use a stand
alone editor - weird. But he seemed like a knowledgeable guy - maybe
that's how the schools turn them out now.
I dropped him off at the train station in Moorpark, then headed over
the hill to Santa Paula where I picked up the little trailer that goes
with the garden tractor. The gentleman I am getting it from is moving
to a house in town and needed it gone now.
In a sad aside - his wife would feed the stray cats that appeared at
their country home. They were up to twelve - all outdoor cats and many
near wild - and can't take them to their new home in town. Hopefully
there will be new & equally kindly tenants.
On the bright side, I recalled seeing a copy of The Hundred Days
among the books I brought back from Dad's place. And indeed, there it
was, along with Master
& Commander and Post Captain. So
I've started on The
Hundred Days - and I note again, reading is so much
quicker than an audio tape - a single evening and I'm halfway through
Tuesday 24 November 2009
- only about ten hours at work.
I was looking at home for The Hundred Days
on tape (this being the sequel to The
but couldn't find it. So I have another book on tape for this week, and
will have to see if I can find The
Hundred Days in hardback or audio at
the library. After then after that there is only the twentieth book in
the series: Blue
at the Mizzen (which I do have on tape) and then
Volume 21: The Final Unfinished Voyage of
Jack Aubrey ( Patrick O'Brian passed
away while writing it) which I do not have
started this series in 2006, using them to ease long commutes, and they
look to last (with a some self control upon my part) into early 2010.
I had read some of the books earlier, but not necessarily as
were written or, indeed, in order, and not on audio for the most part.
A wonderful series, I'll probably read or listen to them again in a few
years. Probably I should back up the cassettes onto MP3 or something -
I believe that is still legal, as long as one owns the originals.
Monday 23 November 2009
- back on the road, down to Camarillo. Something happened at the
210/I5/Ca14 interchange and it took me an hour to go about five miles.
Well, so it
goes. A long day at work, about eleven hours, but we got a lot done.
The son of my friends called in the evening to say that the software
claimed to have
finished the drive copy. I talked him through hooking the new drive up
as "master" and it booted and worked well. So that's a victory!
The cassette player in the
Explorer is on it's last legs. It's the OEM unit, with the non-working
display endemic to that model year (cold solder joints, apparently) and
the CD player failed a while ago (and never played MP3's or anything
but standard audio CD's). The radio pulls in only a few stations, and
now the tape player has lost power, not really having enough torque to
player older (stickier) tapes. To complete the tale of woe and sorrow
- in the last couple of weeks the the right side channel has
I looked briefly at replacement units on Sunday - no
cassette player's to be had, of course. But you can have AUX input, and
even USB input. Sony even has a unit with a built-in hands free
bluetooth unit (but no front USB), so I'll probably get something soon.
But apart from Best Buy there isn't much choice the the Antelope Valley
these days. There are one or two expensive specialty shops, dealing in
the 1000W amplifier systems that kids like to put in their little rat
cars (lowered Civics and the like), but not much else.
I suppose I could look at Fry's down here in Ventura.
Book #78 was
Scott Westerfields The
Risen Empire: Book One of Succession.
This was pretty good, space opera and a bit of Singularity mixed
together. There is a sequel out there somewhere that I'll keep an eye
Sunday 22 November_2009
- Weekend tasks are sometimes like wading in glue, one expends an
extraordinary amount of time and effort to accomplish even the small
things. Partly this is tiredness from being on the road so long, a lack
of clearheadedness and planning; and I think partly the case that
nothing is "in place" - that most efforts must start from scratch
without even the small preparatory items that living in a domicile all
This day, even the traffic lights conspired against me - five
stoplights at 7:30am between my house and the nearest Home Depot, all
red. I was trying to watch a friends house and misplaced the
key, so it was another trip across town. I needed some cash, but the
first ATM was out, so I had to drive further for that, and so on.
I was upgrading the same friends computer, and brought over the wrong
hard drive on Saturday - a nice SATA but their mobo is an old PATA
system, so I had to go home and get that. Then the
backup software to an external USB drive had to be installed, and the
back run prior to drive migration run. And it ran excruciatingly
slow, just under 1GB in the first 40 minutes. I left it to run
overnight, then realized that I had forgotten the pets and had to go
back and feed the fish. I didn't even start the drive
migration until late this Sunday evening, then the Western Digital
documentation didn't quite agree with the software, so there was some
backing and filling before starting the actual migration. Partway in
Windows wanted to run updates, so I pulled the ethernet cable - no
reboots in the middle of a drive upgrade, I think!!
My friends returned home in the middle of all this, and rather than a
nice upgraded system were presented with a computer opened up with it's
guts exposed, unusable until the next day.
Well, so it goes. But it
does get old after a while.
Book #77 was
Andre Norton's Atlantis
This is a late sequel in the Time Traders series, and was co-written
with someone named Sherwood Smith. But it is much in her earlier
somewhat sparse style, so it wasn't just an older authors name grafted
onto a book to sell it, or if it was then SS made a determined effort
to write like Norton. This one takes place in the Thera of 1600 B.C.,
just before the explosion of said volcanic isle, with the aliens trying
the explosion in order to change the time line to a less technological
said, it was a bit odd. The aforementioned villainous aliens of the
first few books turn out to not be quite so villainous, and there is
even a hook for a sequel, though I suspect there wasn't one written.
The 'friendly' aliens turn out to have a fairly violent side themselves.
The complete series would seem to be, with both old and new:
- The Time Traders*
- Galactic Derelict*
- The Defiant Agents
- Key out of Time
- Echoes in Time
- Atlantis Endgame*